What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is an established, evidence-based allied health care profession in which music is used to address emotional, social, developmental, physical, cognitive and/or spiritual needs. 

Music Therapists use music as their treatment protocol and “medicine”; just as a doctor would prescribe and treat using their medical knowledge and technologies, music therapists clinically choose appropriate musical interventions to aid an individual or group in meeting desired goals. 

Music Therapists receive many years of intensive training to become a well-rounded musician as well as a competent clinician, studying a wide range of disciplines, from human anatomy and physiology, psychology, psychoneuro-immunology, research, clinical improvisation, technology, composition and music theory to guitar, keyboards and percussion. 

Music Therapists in the US must hold a current certification renewed every 5 years and follow a professional code of ethics provided by a national board after completion of their 4-year Bachelors or 2-year Masters degree and a supervised internship of 1200 hours and passing the certification exam.

Mayu Langford, MT-BC, HHP, CBP, has been a board-certified music therapist for 12 years, with experience providing music therapy at day programs for adults with developmental challenges, eating disorder and emergency units at psychiatric hospitals, bed-side hospital settings with terminally ill children and adults, schools for the emotionally challenged, as well as with Alzheimer’s patients at nursing homes, hospice and bereavement care. Mayu uses her gentle yet directive clinical approach combined with her musicianship she has acquired as a multi-instrumentalist/vocalist and singer/songwriter, having been featured on over 20 records worldwide. For the past several years, Mayu has focused mainly on individual and group sessions with children, including newborns and infants as well as children with special needs, especially on the autistic spectrum, as well as those diagnosed with ADD/ADHD.

Music Therapy for Children

Every music therapy session will look different, since the therapist is constantly assessing what the client’s needs are based on their behavioral, emotional and physical needs in each moment. Music Therapists typically use live instruments to create an interactive atmosphere. 

The best part is that it seems as if it’s effortless, even though the therapist may be having the client “work,” like stretching their less mobile arm during rehabilitation by having them reach up to play a drum, or getting them to vocalize and therefore deepen their breathing, or changing the tempo to ease their anger, tantrums or over-stimulation. 

Music therapy can set up a positive and success-oriented experience for the client, instead of a treatment they have to painfully sit through or have little attention/patience for. Because music can be used even with clients who are non-verbal, it can bypass communication barriers and often reach the core of the issue faster than other types of therapies that rely on verbal communication.

Music Therapy and Autism

Music Therapy has been used extensively with children as well as adults on the Autistic Spectrum. Research shows that Music Therapy can increase attention and socialization, improve cognitive functioning, verbal skills and behavior, enhance sensory-motor skills and auditory processing, while decreasing agitation and self-stimulation. 

Music Therapy provides structure and creativity. Music is familiar and constant. We each have a rhythm – in our heartbeat, in our walking, in our breathing, in our daily routines. This being able to feel comfortable in a routine is even more so important to individuals with ASD, which music can provide, while at the same time, allowing room to explore creativity, emotional expansion and neurological development. 

Music Therapy validates. By focusing on the client’s needs at every moment, it reminds the clients of their self-worth, and makes them aware – whether consciously or otherwise – that they are “okay.” 

Music Therapy is always in the moment. Participation in active music making cannot happen without focusing on what is happening in the present moment. Instead of being frustrated or triggered by past memories/patterns or being afraid of future events, music therapy helps to keep the client focused on the “now,” which alleviates a significant amount of stress. 

Music Therapy supports caregivers. Individuals with special needs, and their families, feel that they must constantly try to focus on “fitting in” to what mainstream society and institutions expect. Parents and caregivers of children with ASD often experience tremendous guilt, frustration, and isolation. Music therapy experiences have helped many families regain their strength, confidence and happiness, and their overall quality of life.

Music therapy interventions can be designed to:  

  • promote wellness  
  • manage stress
  • alleviate pain
  • express feelings
  • enhance memory
  • improve communication
  • improve attention span
  • promote physical rehabilitation.

Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in a wide variety of healthcare and educational settings.

Aromatic Music Therapy TM

Sound and smell are the most primitive senses that directly connect to our emotions, memory, and our nervous system. Developed by Board-Certified Music Therapist and Holistic Health Practitioner Mayu Langford, Aromatic Music Therapy TM combine the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy and music therapy to help support children with their physical, emotional and mental needs in their various developmental stages. Based on a broad base of clinically proven aromatherapy and music therapy knowledge and techniques, Aromatic Music Therapy TM creates an instantly calming environment that promotes healthy creative expression and a sense of total well-being.

Music and essentials oils both trigger the emotional center in the limbic system, through the auditory cortex and olfactory senses, respectively, and assist in activating every single part of the brain. When combined, their effects are amplified. 

Music and certain types of essential oils have been proven to increase the pleasure chemical dopamine, as well as oxytocin, the love hormone that promotes social bonding.

To book Mayu for a group or individual music therapy session, email us here!